Friday, May 30, 2014

The dangers of anti-trafficking work....

The topic of human trafficking for sex work is very important to me, but it is one that I haven't done much research on since I wrote my Masters thesis. When I was researching my thesis, which addressed government and non-governmental agencies' responses to trafficking and sex work in Nepal, I came away with the impression that many of these organizations - while motivated by good intentions - harmed women. 

I published my observations that organizations who used what I termed a "labor exploitation framework" achieved results that supported the fulfillment of human rights by all women more easily than organizations who employed what I called a "prostitution framework." In the latter framework, all prostitution is considered evil and no distinctions are made between those who have no freedom of movement, cannot exercise agency over the types and number of sex acts they perform, and do not earn money from their work and those who exercise quite a bit of agency over the types of sex acts they perform, can stop engaging in prostitution at any time, and earn money from their work. 

An article published today in the New York Times, The Price of a Sex-Slave Rescue Fantasy, documents the manipulations of one organization and its founder and spokesperson - who herself had claimed to be a survivor of sex trafficking. The allegations implicate many others, however, in the scandal. Importantly, they call into focus the monetary support that Westerners provide to many of these agencies that, as I found in Nepal, perhaps do more harm than good and certainly are taking a less optimal approach to combatting a very real problem of exploitation.

If you are interested in reading my article, you can find it here.

No comments:

Post a Comment